The LCD-4 is the flagship model in the Audeze LCD line of planar magnetic headphones. Incredibly, Audeze brilliantly designed the diaphragm to be thinner than a spider’s web and put it inside a headphone. With the LCD-4, expect to capture every single musical detail with precision, accuracy and with near-zero distortion.
The Pinnacle of Planar Magnetic Design
The LCD-4’s planar magnetic driver takes bass reproduction and ultra-low distortion to the pinnacle of high-end performance. Capable of reproducing low-end frequencies with transparency and near-zero distortion above 5Hz, LCD-4 delivers end-game results. Bass is bigger, deeper, and more resolute compared to anything before it.
Featuring a diaphragm thinner than a strand of spider web, the Double Fluxor magnetic structure packs a whopping 1.5 Tesla! This power-house propels the Nano-Scale diaphragm to the extreme for the most accurate transient responses.
Warm, Smooth, Natural Sound So Real Its Holographic
Deep bottom-end weight, smooth top-end extension, and highly detailed mid-range that highlight every single note on recordings with the most accurate precision. The soundstage is so natural and real, it's holographic.
Company & Product Overview
The Audeze story began in 2008 when two founders learned about a space-age material originally developed for NASA aeronautics. This technology trickled into a headphone — the classic LCD-2. As connoisseurs of science fiction, the founders named their company Audeze (pronounced awh-deh-zee) — a clever play on words inspired by the sci-fi film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
The company’s first LCD model takes the planar magnetic technology light years further with a flagship headphone — LCD-4. Famous for combining advanced technology with superior standards in luxury, Audeze continues to earn the reputation as “the Tesla,” or more appropriately, “the SpaceX” of headphones.
When it set out to design a flagship LCD model, Audeze created a headphone that delivers an unprecedented level of detail and immersion. We'll tell you how well Audeze fulfills that pitch, and how big of a step-up the LCD-4 truly is above the rest.
Packaging, Design & Build Quality
The LCD-4 is handcrafted in the USA. Holding it in our hands, the attention to detail is just evident.
Audeze includes the unbalanced 1.9m 1/4-inch to dual 4-pin mini XLR headphone cable, user guide, and official Audeze warranty card. Also, bundled with the package is the same professional-grade travel case included with all LCDs. The “pro”-level case is the perfect solution for protecting the LCD-4 on the road, and for those times you need to check it with your bags. The case’s secure inner-padding should protect the LCD-4, even if tossed around in the airplane’s cargo. For a headphone priced in the LCD-4’s class, it’s more than appreciated — it’s a must-have.
Outfitted with Ebony Wood rings, the LCD-4 is chic. Ebony is a dense hardwood species native to India, Africa, and Indonesia. Prized for its luxuriant dark color and density in the hands, Ebony has a long history of use dating back to Ancient Egyptian tombs. Today, Ebony is commonly used in black chess pieces and musical instruments.
The LCD-4’s dark brown Ebony finish has a classy sheen, featuring black streaks reminiscent of a tiger. The chic look of the Ebony Wood rings complements the LCD-4’s futuristic aesthetics. From its black premium leather and carbon-fiber suspension headband to the shiny chrome grillwork, decorating the backs of its ear cups, the LCD-4 gushes luxury.
At Audio Advice, we push the headphones we test to the limits. Weighing in at 735g, the LCD-4’s weight didn’t add any noticeable pressure even during longer listening sessions. We attributed the LCD-4’s ability to stay comfortable on the head to several factors: 1.) the combination of the headband’s comfortable “clamping force,” 2.) the larger-than-life ear pads, and 3.) the use of carbon fiber in the leather headband suspension system.The LCD-4 feels really, really good.
Adjusting the LCD-4 for a tailored fit is similar to other LCD planar magnetic headphones. The same design is featured on the LCD-4’s yoke for fit-adjustment. We found the click mechanism satisfying and simple to use. We did notice both the left and right click mechanisms on the yoke could be knocked out of place causing the headband to need readjustments. This didn’t happen often, but when it did, we found a good workaround using a headphone stand that kept the LCD-4 still. With this solution, we were able to keep the LCD-4’s industrial click-mechanism securely locked in place.
The LCD-4’s earpads “hug” the area around the ears with premium leather that feels soft and cool against our skin. This has the bonus of creating one of the most satisfying sealing conditions we have experienced from headphones. Sound stays locked in, sealing in the LCD-4’s open sense of presentation with a cool comfortable fit. Audeze offers the LCD-4 earpads in a vegan-friendly leather-free option as well, which we think many users will appreciate.
The ear pads have a “sloped” contoured design made with specially selected memory foam. The memory foam offers the perfect level of firmness when they wrap around the sides of our heads. They provide more than enough room so your ears are never squished. This level of comfort seals the deal. We get it, Audeze. These headphones make the statement that the user is a serious music fan who cares deeply about sound quality and the comfort of listening.
Features & Technology
Audeze developed a way to manufacture the Ultra-thin diaphragm in the original LCD-2 to be even thinner. How thin? For comparison, the LCD-2 has a diaphragm that’s thinner than a human hair. According to Audeze, average human hair is about 75 microns thick. For reference, 1 micron is about 0.00004 inches in thickness. Compare that measurement with a piece of standard printer paper (about 100 microns thick). Now, imagine the thinness of a single bridge thread in a spider’s web — 2 microns across. That’s nano-scale small! The diaphragms in the LCD-4 are 0.5 microns thick, or a little over 1/10th the thickness of a single strand of spider web. Incredibly, Audeze brilliantly designed a diaphragm thinner than a spider’s web and put it inside a headphone. At Audio Advice, we couldn’t be more excited!
Extreme weight reduction is the key to highly accurate and detailed transient responses.The movement of the diaphragm relates to the level of detail you hear. Essentially, the faster the diaphragm moves, the better it reproduces soundwaves as if they were produced in the real world. But, Audeze pushed the limits when it developed the Nano-Scale Uniforce Diaphragm for the LCD-4.
Audeze says the Nano-Scale Uniforce Diaphragms are the thinnest diaphragms produced in the world. With the LCD-4, listeners can capture every single musical detail with precision, accuracy and with near-zero distortion.
Audeze has the reputation of reproducing music’s bottom-end weight with ultra-low distortion. They go the extra mile by doubling the propulsion power of the nano grade diaphragms using a Double Fluxor magnetic structure. The double fluxor magnet array creates a magnetic field with a whopping 1.5 Tesla, allowing the diaphragm’s voice coil to achieve the most extreme control and precision between the magnets.
The diaphragm’s Nano-Scale thin design reduces distortion even closer to the near-zero potential above 5Hz. Frequency content this low is the type of musical bass response that you will feel in your body. Like a live concert, bottom-end weight at 5Hz is the full experience. This makes the LCD-4 capable of reproducing bigger and deeper bass with even more accurate transient responses than the LCD-3. Extreme weight reduction is key to planar magnetic technology. The LCD-4 represents the pinnacle of this tech when pushed to the maximum.
With distortion nearly gone, the LCD-4 reproduces transients naturally with details. The frequency range of 5Hz to 50kHz allows the LCD-4 to sing with a deeper low-end resolution. But, don’t expect amazing sound when connecting the LCD-4 directly to a laptop or smartphone. If you want to experience the LCD-4 to the full extent, you’ll need a good headphone amp with the power to drive its 200 ohms impedance. After allowing the burn-in process to conjure our LCD-4’s mojo, we connected it to the Naim V1 DAC/headphone amp. We like this amp as it drives all the LCDs to peak performance.
If you like the Audeze sound and want to connect directly with a smart device, we recommend the Audeze DX On-Ear, the LCD-1 Open-Back, or the Mobius Headphone and Gaming Headset.
The LCD-4’s immersive realism came alive on the 1972 Billboard hit “I’ll Take You There” recorded by The Staple Singers for Stax Records. Immediately, we heard the holographic details of electric guitars plucking in our right ears. The rhythm and pacing of the electric guitar tone had a tuneful realism that instantly grabbed our attention.
Next, we noticed the presentation of horns retained their full natural timbres. The placement of horns in the mix is sometimes difficult to pick out with most headphones. However, the precision of details the LCD-4 presented were so accurate, we could point to the placement of horns sitting “far away” in the mix around the 11:00 position.
A snare landed heavily with a “crack” that sizzled succinctly in the 12:30 position. The rhythm and pacing of the kick, snare and bass guitar got our shoulders swinging and our heads bobbing along with the music. Like the title of the song, the LCD-4 allowed the groove’s tuneful sense of timing and rhythmic pacing to take us there. Right off the bat, we felt immersed in the holographic details of the rhythm section as though we were right there in front of the stage.
Overall, The LCD-4’s immersive realism really came alive on this cut. The recording's rhythm and pacing got our shoulders swinging and our heads bobbing along to the groove.
Next, when Camille Saint-Saens’ 1877 classical composition “Samson et Dalila,” appeared in our queue, we were genuinely in awe of the LCD-4’s clear top-end extension and three-dimensional soundstage. At the center of the LCD-4’s wide-open soundstage, the clarinet introduces the song with a resonant but unhyped top-end sizzle so detailed and holographic, it felt like it almost “tickled” the tops of our heads. It sounds superlative, but the realism was so holographic, it almost felt as though we conducted the clarinet’s performance.
The LCD-4 sounded like it was especially voiced to reproduce brass sections. Tubas possessed a full-bodied “warmth” that was almost “texture-like” in tonality — not metallic or brittle — but presented with a deeper bottom-end resonance that sounded like a live orchestra. After 3 minutes, the presentation of details was so accurate and natural sounding, it almost felt like we were in the orchestra. The experience was so immersive, we could hear the pizzicato violins in the soundstage as though the violinists were sitting next to us! The LCD-4’s 50kHz top-end extension allowed the harmonic details of horns and violins to sizzle naturally. We’ve never experienced this level of intimacy. Wow!
Here, we were genuinely in awe of the LCD-4’s top-end extension and the three-dimensional immersion we experienced. The LCD-4 sounded like it was especially voiced for reproducing brass and string sections with amazing details. Tubas had that warm full-bodied tone that possessed the bottom-end weight and detail like real tubas.
Horns sounded so good with the LCD-4, we pressed play on Sam Cooke’s 1962 “Twistin’ The Night Away.” This recording features a bold baritone saxophone panned hard right in the stereo field. Because the bari sax is so up front in the mix, this track is great for testing a speaker's ability to present natural dynamics of low-end harmonic content. Many headphones with dynamic drivers will distort the low-end at louder volumes. The LCD-4 did not.
Instead, we heard the deep bottom-end weight of the bari sax sizzling in our right ear with smooth, full-bodied warmth and natural detail presented with no perceived distortion above 5 kHz. The low-end resonance was just full of energy. There’s a tuneful sense of timing in the bottom-end that gave us the urge to start twisting ourselves!
We put that 5Hz bass response to the test with this classic R&B hit. The LCD-4 reproduced all the deep bass frequency content in the baritone sax with zero distortion and a tuneful sense of timing that urged us to twist!
At $3,995, the Audeze LCD-4 is priced high in the flagship category. So, is it worth it?
For critical listeners who want to hear all the tiny subtle details that make recorded music sound like real life, we give the LCD-4 open-back headphone a thumbs up. Similar to other LCDs, our impression of the LCD-4 is that it fits in well with almost any kind of music. However, the LCD-4’s true capabilities shine on organic genres (Rock, Blues, Jazz, Classical and Funk styles) that are especially detailed-oriented.
One thing that makes the LCD-4 stand out compared to the other LCDs is the ability to satisfy more than one listening style. At Audio Advice, we celebrate the fact that everyone listens differently. During our tests, the LCD-4 was popular amongst both critical listeners and the listeners who prefer kicking back and getting lost in the music. As always, making the decision comes down to your unique ergonomic application. For more on that, please read our Headphone Buyer’s Guide.
To compare all the Audeze models together in one convenient place, check out our other Audeze Headphone reviews. If you enjoy the Audeze sound but need a headphone for public settings, then consider a closed-back headphone like the Audeze LCD2 closed-back, instead.
Regardless of whether you’re a music lover or a critical listener if you enjoy music with holographic realism and lively dynamics that immerse you deeper in the music with the most subtle details... Gosh, who wouldn’t buy these?! With a good DAC/headphone amp, the LCD-4 delivers the most accurate deep bottom-end weight, smooth top-end extension and highly detailed mid-range in a luxurious first-rate package. For the ultimate listening experience in the comfort of home or a private office select the LCD-4 (end of story).
Who it’s for: Home Critical Listener.
What it’s for: All types of music, but similar to other LCDs, it makes organic genres (Rock, Blues, Jazz, Classical and Funk) come alive.
How to get peak performance: Connect it with a good DAC/headphone amp at home or in private settings.
The LCD-4, Audeze's new reference headphone, is the result of dedicated research and development and advancements in materials science. It features amazingly thin nano-grade diaphragms and unique Double Fluxor magnet arrays for the most powerful magnetic flux density in existence, an incredible 1.5 Tesla!
- Planar Magnetic technology
- Flux density 1.5 Tesla
- Large ultra-thin nano grade Uniforce diaphragms
- Double Fluxor magnetic arrays
- Fazor elements
- Open Circumaural design
- 5 to 50,000 Hz Frequency Response
|Transducer Type||Planar magnetic|
|Earpad Material||Lambskin Leather|
|Frequency Response||5Hz - 20kHz|
|Drivers||106mm Planar Magentic|